Alumni Notes: May/June 2021

As I was sitting down to write these notes I got word from Ted Hamm’s son that Ted had died the day before, March 12, in Jupiter, Florida, near the oceanside home on Jupiter Island where he had lived for many years. The cause was a rare blood cancer that he had fought almost to a draw for nearly a decade, with the help of his children, a lot of doctors, and Anne, his longtime companion. Ted was one of a group of eight of us who roomed together in Saybrook—a talented, occasionally wacky St. Paul’s graduate whose deepest regret, as he forthrightly acknowledged in our 50th reunion book, was that he partied at Yale far more than he studied. I spent a good deal of time later in life reassuring him that he was hardly alone in that regard.

Ted came from a distinguished and wealthy family in Minneapolis, the proprietors of the legendary Hamm’s Beer, who were smart enough to get out of the beer business at just the right time in the late 1960s and invest their considerable holdings in a major insurance and real estate company that itself did extraordinarily well. Ted worked there for 30-some years, then moved more or less permanently to Jupiter Island, where he had spent many happy childhood years in the company of another of our group of eight, the late Joseph Reed, whose family founded the Jupiter Island Club. I reconnected with him in Hobe Sound about ten years ago. I bet my wife that if we ate by the pool we would soon see a tall shambling guy with long pants and sweater tied around his waist, and by God, there he came. The Ted I then came to know was as charming, spirited, and opinionated as ever but also a person of great generosity with a strong spiritual side reflected in his reading and his commitment to the local church, where he carried the cross on Sundays before it literally became too heavy for his weakened frame. He loved Yale, and with great effort and the help of his son made it back to our 60th reunion. He leaves two children, Ted and a daughter, Shannon; and their mother, Carol, Ted’s ex-wife who lived across the road.

I have been alerted by classmates to the passing of three more of us.

Mike Hard, who has struggled with cancer in recent years, died in Tucson in late February. A Long Island native and Pomfret graduate, he rowed on the varsity crew and in the Henley Royal Regatta, and was a member of Scroll and Key, Zeta Psi, and the Torch Honor Society. While at Yale, he made his first trip to Arizona to visit Kathy Lockett, who would become his wife. Stepping out of the plane into Arizona’s soft desert air, he thought, “My God, this is amazing,” and according to the Tucson Weekly, decided then and there to leave the dreary and cold eastern seaboard behind. After three years in the Navy, he rose quickly through the ranks of Valley National Bank, where he served his entire professional career, through its transformation to Bank One. He served on many community boards and brought home numerous civic awards, including the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Man of the Year in 2000. He traveled widely with his wife and children, and was an ardent camper despite progressive arthritis that began in his early 30s; he was also a bit of a social animal, having been the founding member of a group called the Saturday Night Eating, Drinking, and Carousing Association. Mike is survived by Kathy and three children.

Kim Jaycox—who entered this world with the wonderfully bountiful name of Edward van Kleeck Jaycox Jr.—left it on March 1 at his home in Washington, DC. His wife Victoria said the cause was cancer. Kim came to Yale from the Hill School on a Navy scholarship, and served four years as a junior officer on board the USS Valley Forge. In our 50th reunion book he describes those four years as “transformative,” meaning, in short, that he actually had to become a grown-up person with real responsibilities. But what seems to have defined his life was an interest he developed in Africa while a junior at Yale, and, later, a post-Navy traveling fellowship in African studies at Columbia. His life became, in a word, Africa, and in practice he did what he could during a 32-year career at the World Bank to help that struggling continent make the daunting transition to independence. Twelve of these years were spent as the bank’s vice president for Africa, where he oversaw a $3.8 billion annual lending program to over 40 African countries. In retirement he continued these efforts, establishing one of the first private equity funds focused on investing in Africa, and serving on various Africa-related private foundations, including one to provide scholarships to girls in South Sudan and Uganda. Kim is survived by his wife of 61 years, Victoria Holt Jaycox, whom he married during his Navy days, and two daughters, both in Chevy Chase.

A note from Cornelia Northrop, in Wytheville, Virginia, informs us of the death of her husband, Richard Northrop. Dick came to Yale from Stamford, Connecticut, one of only six students in his graduating class at the King School. At Yale, he lived in Branford and was a member of the Political Union and ROTC, which obliged him to spend three years as a first lieutenant in the army. The bulk of his professional career was spent in banking, beginning in the management training program at First National City Bank in New York (later Citibank), at which point he lived in New Jersey with his wife Nini and their two children; and later on at Maryland National Bank in Baltimore. After a stint as a financial manager at the private St. Paul’s School for Girls, he and Nini moved to Wytheville in southwestern Virginia, having fallen in love years before with the Shenandoah Valley. They were deeply attached to the local Presbyterian church and became active in a range of social and charitable pursuits. Nini survives him, as do a son and a daughter.

My most recent column described Donald Trump as “volcanic” and noted a decrease in the political temperature in Washington since his return to private life. This irritated a classmate who much admires Mr. Trump, and while I thought my comments were beyond innocuous, I take the point. National politics will not further intrude in this space.